Modular Cardboard Lampshade




The light on my living room ceiling fan was too bright and reflecting on my tv, so I decided I needed a lampshade that would direct the light up and block the light from the sides. This cardboard shade was easy, quick, and made entirely from discarded materials.

This shade can be scaled up or down depending on how large you cut each piece.

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Step 1: Materials

cardstock template

scrap papers

box cutter



lampshade ring (optional)

hot glue/glue gun

Xyron sticker maker OR craft glue

binder clips (optional)

Step 2: Template

Draw a right triangle (30 degree angles with all sides the same length). You could also print the image in this step and cut it out.

Draw another triangle outside the first. This one doesn't need to be quite so perfect.

Cut out the outside triangle.

Cut the points off at the points of the inside triangle.

Step 3: Trace and Cut

Trace the template 15 times onto the cardboard and cut them out with a boxcutter.

Step 4: Trace

Fold the edges of the template in and trace the triangle onto the center of each piece.

Step 5: Cut

Gently cut along the lines so that the top layer of cardboard is cut but the bottom layer is left intact.

Bend at each cut.

Step 6: Check

I used binder clips to make sure all my pieces lined up well. This step isn't entirely necessary, but it's a great way to try out different shapes.

Step 7: Rim

With a hot glue gun, glue five pieces together into a pentagon and trace the shape onto another piece of cardboard.

After cutting out the pentagon, cut out the center about 1.5" from the edge.

Step 8: Glue

Glue the last 10 pieces together alternating between point up and point down.

Glue the top onto the sides.

Glue the rim onto the open side.

Glue the lampshade ring onto the rim. If the ring doesn't fit your needs or you don't have access to one, you could also cut some cardboard to fit your lamp.

Step 9: More Templates

Fold each side of the template in half and make a crease at the edge.

Draw a line from each crease to make a triangle in the center.

Trace the top triangle onto another piece of cardstock to make a large triangle.

Trace and cut a duplicate and trim it down for a smaller triangle.

Use the large and small triangles as templates to cut pieces of scrap paper into triangles.

Step 10: Stickers

I ran my triangles through a Xyron sticker maker, but you can also just use some glue to apply them.

Step 11: Stick

Apply your triangles to your lampshade.

If you didn't use a sticker maker, brush some glue on the back of each piece to apply.

Step 12: Enjoy

Hang your lampshade and enjoy!

Cardboard Contest 2017

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Cardboard Contest 2017

Papercraft Contest 2017

Participated in the
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    8 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Why didn't you just buy lower light emitting bulbs ? You could also get them in soft light so there is no glare on your TV.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Mostly because I don't want to feel like I'm living in a cave. There aren't a lot of windows in my living room, so the ceiling light is the only source of light.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I guess it is meant more indirect lighting.
    Otherwise you need openings for the light.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Yes, I was trying to avoid glare on my tv, so directing all the light upward lit the room and prevented glare.


    Reply 2 years ago

    No light comes through. That was the point. The light from my other shades was causing a ton of glare on the TV. This way all the light is directed upward and it doesn't cause as much glare. I have 5 powerful LED bulbs inside that still light the room well.


    2 years ago